As a Spad in the NI Office I sat in on a meeting between the SoS and families of the Omagh bombing victims. It’s one of the most moving experiences of my life to date, and it will stay with me always. They were determined that no family should go through what they did.
They didn’t harbour any resentment, hatred or confusion about what had happened. Stopping another atrocity, another unbearable heartache for someone else’s mother, son, brother, sister, daughter - that was their only mission. Peace in Ireland was everything to them.
And they were there when the last bit of devolution was delivered on a very sunny day at Stormont. And I know some in the NIO became lifelong friends with some of them. The GFA was a miracle to communities who’d faced the reality of the “Troubles” day in day out.
And to see today government MPs tweeting about how Biden is only chasing the Irish-American vote, how the GFA should make way for Brexit and how the “EU is a threat to peace” it’s all I can do to restrain my total, complete contempt and disgust.
I’m afraid I don’t have the reserves of trust, dignity and calm that those incredible people I met at Hillsborough Castle do. They’re the best of us and those talking down the peace process aren’t worth a fraction of them.